We've had our rabbit Buddy for about a year and a half, since he was 8 weeks. He had snuffles when we got him and was treated shortly after we got him. Even though we know this isn't a "curable" thing he has done well since. During the first several months (maybe 4-6) after we got him he was kept in his cage but we'd often leave the cage door open when we were home to supervise, and he would run around the living room. Since we first got him he has never been much for being held. But we eventually stopped letting him run out a lot (almost daily) when we read online that pet rabbits who are allowed to "free roam" can become aggressive if you try to "restrict" them to their cages. Now we have him in a bigger cage that we don't let him out of as much as we did when we first got him. Lately (within the last 6 months) he won't even come out of the cage at all even if we leave the door open. He might hop out when there's nobody in the room but hops back in once someone walks in. Within the last 3 months he's also developed what we think could be cage aggression. When we go to fill his food bowl up, he will jump towards our hands and the food bowl but doesn't do anything else that we can see. He doesn't thump his back feet or anything. We don't think he goes to the bowl because he's hungry and knows it's food, because he does it every time, even if there's still half a bowl of food in there and there's no reason he should be hungry (if he wasn't already eating). Recently though he has bitten two of our family. My 12 year old sister (I'm the older daughter typing this on my mom's account) and my mom. When he bit my sister it was hard enough to nearly pull off a piece of the skin on her finger. My mom says when he bit her on the wrist it bled for a while and went pretty deep. Both times they were going in to feed Buddy. We're not sure what to do or think about this because even when in his cage he will let us pet him and sometimes even nudge our hands to pet him (he's done this since we got him). We think he probably associates our hands with food. We know that he will possibly/probably need to be euthanized because of this but we'd really like any advice on what could be wrong, and if we can help it.
Pet's Gender: Male
Pet's Age: 2
Type of Animal: Rabbit
Name of Animal: Buddy
We have tried petting him before filling his bowl so he knows we're in his space but not trying to hurt him.
Hello,I'm sorry you're having this problem with Buddy. Some additional information will be useful.Has Buddy been neutered? If so, how long ago?What kind of rabbit is he? If you don't know, tell me how big he is (weight)? Thank you.Anna
We were told he is a mini-lop, he does have lop ears although he does seem rather big for a miniature. He weighs about 5 pounds. He isn't neutered.
Thank you for getting back to me. I'll start by explaining that I have over 30 years breeding and showing rabbits. The mini lop has gotten its name because it is smaller than some of the bigger lop breeds. They aren't really 'miniatures' and can weigh even more than yours does. The true miniature lop breed is the Holland lop, which is the smallest lop.Your rabbit is being territorial with his food, and that behavior is more likely in a rabbit that hasn't been neutered. Other aggressive behaviors can also appear in intact rabbits. Many male rabbits don't ever exhibit behavior related to sexual maturity, but when they do, it often takes the form of aggression. Some go so far as to leap on a person's hand and bite hard. The problem tends to get worse the longer it is allowed to continue. Neutering is the solution.Some rabbits also bite in anticipation of getting a treat. If you commonly feed treats from your hand, and the biting doesn't seem to be aggressive, this could be the case. If so, put the rabbit's treats in his bowl.If the biting is related to sexual maturity, there is an excellent chance that neutering the rabbit would solve the problem. I've rarely encountered rabbits of both sexes that simply have a more aggressive nature, and in those cases, spaying or neutering doesn't help. I must emphasize that such rabbits are not common. Neutering offers many advantages for rabbits kept as pets. Neutered rabbits tend to be more docile, cleaner in their urination habits (no spraying), and don't develop cancers of the reproductive system as they get older. You can read more about neutering at this link:http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare/spay.htmlThe bigger cage was also a good idea because a rabbit that is bored is more likely to bite. If you aren't presently feeding him hay, start giving him all the good grass hay he wants. It should eb available at all times. Rabbits need the fiber in hay for good digestion and chewing it gives them something to do. A 5 lb. rabbit should also have about 1/4 cup of plain pellets per day. Oxbow and Purina make good pellets. the so-called gourmet mixes, with dried fruit, nuts, and seeds are very bad for rabbits. They are like candy to them. My main recommendation to you is to make an appointment to get your rabbit neutered. This link will take you to a directory of rabbit vets:http://www.rabbit.org/vets/vets.htmlRabbits are more delicate patients than are dogs or cats, so it's best to find a rabbit-experienced vet.If neutering isn't an option, an alternative to putting the rabbit to sleep would be to place him with a rescue group. The information on this website will help you find a rescue group:http://www.rabbit.org/If you have further questions about this, just let me know by clicking on REPLY.Anna(The above answer is intended for informational purposes only. If your pet is ill, you should consult a veterinarian. If you find my answer helpful, please click on the green ACCEPT button. Thank you.)
40 yrs.: herps, pocket pets, rabbits, poultry, dogs, horses. Biology degree. Vet assistant.